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Evening Boat Cruise on Lake Victoria

The Lake Victoria: The World’s Largest Tropical Lake

by | Aug 1, 2023 | 0 comments

The Lake Victoria: The World’s Largest Tropical Lake

Nestled in the heart of East Africa, Lake Victoria is the largest tropical lake in the world spanning the borders of three countries – Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The largest part of this freshwater body is found in Uganda and all together it Spans approximately 68,800 km2, Lake Victoria is an integral part of East Africa’s rich cultural heritage and natural biodiversity and famously known as the source of the Nile.

It was discovered that Lake Victoria was formed about 400,000 years ago by the process called down-warping of land between the two arms of the Great Rift Valley whereby westward-flowing rivers were dammed by an upthrown crustal block, reversing their flow backwards into the down-warped land.

In 1858, the search by Europeans for the source of the Nile led to the sighting of the lake by the British explorer John Hanning Speke who named the lake in honour of Queen Victoria of England while a detailed survey of the lake was made by Sir William Garstin in 1901 however the lake was formerly known to the Arabs as Ukerewe and to the Baganda as Nalubaale.

Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes and it is the continent’s largest lake, the largest tropical lake in the World, and the second largest freshwater lake in the world in terms of surface area.

Numerous important rivers flow into Lake Victoria such as the River Mara, Kagera, Yala, Nyando, Bukora and Katonga while the White Nile is the only river flowing out of the Lake Victoria.

Today, Lake Victoria with its resources support the economies of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda while its Nile River support numerous countries where it passes such as Egypt.

The lake provides a greater percentage of hydropower for Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, and also water supply for major urban centres like Kampala, Kigali, Mwanza, and Kisumu.

Wildlife on Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is home to over 500 species of fish, and it is famed for its diverse fishery.

The most common fish species are the Nile perch and the tilapia, that have attracted fishing industries and numerous communities while depending on the lake for survival.

Lake Victoria’s rich biodiversity is a testament behind the delicate balance of its ecosystem supporting an array of wildlife including Shoebill stork, African helmeted turtle, Freshwater crab, Giant Outter Shrew, Marsh Mongoose, hippos.

And various reptiles like the Nile crocodile whereas its vast shoreline harbors dense forests and wetlands, providing habitat and breeding grounds for various birds and animal species.

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Activities to do on Lake Victoria

Birding safaris

The Mabamba swamp is the best place for birding safaris on Lake Victoria as you get to spot the famous Shoebill stork that attracts numerous tourists from all over the world.

Lake Victoria is a home to various bird species such as Malachite Kingfisher, Black-headed Weaver, African Jacana, Black-headed heron, Black kite.

Birders get a great opportunity to witness different bird species an experience of a lifetime.


Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa and a great habitat for various fish species like Nile perch, Tilapia, Silver fish among others thus facilitating fishing activities.

Uganda’s Lake Victoria financially supports numerous local families because many earn a living from fishing.

Sunset boat cruise/boat cruise

Sunset Boat cruise is a unique safari activity at Lake Victoria and suitable for you wishing to end an evening while relaxing on water in a boat.

The activity offers a lifetime opportunity to explore different scenery which surrounds the lake as well as visiting some islands and fishing villages.

The activity starts in the evening and lasts for about 2-3 hours. Enjoy the golden glittering Nile and Lake Victoria waters as the sun sets.

Chimp tracking in Ngamba Island

Ngamba Island is nestled in the south-east of Entebbe in Lake Victoria, and it is referred to as the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Island that protects and provides great shelter to chimps, haboring over 40 rescued and orphaned chimpanzees.

You can engage in different activities like care giving, chimpanzee feeding, food collection among others.

Visit Ssese Island

Ssese Island is a tropical island and is one of the top hidden treasures in Uganda.

Ssese Island is highly visited by tourists, and you can board an airplane, take a boat, or a ferry to get there.

A visit to Ssese Island exposes you to multiple activities such as swimming, boat cruise, camping, forest walks, jet boating with numerous sandy-beaches, horseback rides, hiking activities, Quad biking, Nile Perch fishing, and birding.

Ssese Islands is located in the northwestern corner of Lake Victoria.

Horseback riding

A horse ride along the shores of Lake Victoria and along the river Nile is a fantastic activity to do where you get a 2–3-hour horse ride as you enjoy the beautiful Nile scenic views and the warm hospitality of the local people.

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Bungee jumping

Bungee jumping on the world’s longest river is a lifetime experience that holds memories of the heart. Bungee jumping can be done during the day or even at night.

White water rafting

White water rafting is a thrilling activity that yields great exploration of the river rapids while enjoying the best of the flowing Nile River currents.

You can enjoy the activity as an individual, with your friends or as a family.

There are two levels of white-water rafting which include the white or soft water and the hard water.

Visit the Source of the Nile in Jinja

Lake Victoria is well known as the source of the world’s longest river – Nile River.

In Jinja, the visit to the source of the Nile River is one of the major activities to do and it yields great experiences to witness the very starting point of this great river as well as witnessing numerous wildlife like birds, Nile crocodiles, hippos among others.

You can also partake in a boat cruise along the Nile River and relax from a day’s work.

The Equator Island on Lake Victoria

The Lwaji Island is Lake Victoria’s Equator Island, and you can partake in a fun boat trip to the island where the Equator crosses Lake Victoria.

You get to enjoy the tranquil blue water, the calm refreshing winds, pleasant and cool atmosphere.

The Island has very many different bird species. You get to see the incredible and giant trees which grow on the surface of the Island rock.

An exciting and amazing thing to witness the Equator landmark showing where the equator passes across the Lake Victoria.

Visit the Bujagali Falls.

Bujagali Falls nestled along the White Nile River in Uganda, is an awe-inspiring natural wonder that captivates you with its powerful cascades, lush greenery, and breathtaking rock formations.

Bujagali Falls offers a truly mesmerising experience for those seeking adventure and natural beauty.

The surrounding area offers a multitude of thrilling activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking, and bungee jumping. These activities allow you to experience the raw power of the falls up close.

Visiting Bujagali Falls is truly a lifetime experience. Whether you are seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or a peaceful retreat in nature, this remarkable destination has something for you.

The combination of cultural significance, natural beauty, and thrilling activities truly makes Bujagali Falls a jewel in the heart of Uganda.

Best time to visit Lake Victoria

The best time to visit Lake Victoria depends on the activity one is interested to engage in, but generally, the dry season from June to August and from December to February is considered to be the best time to visit.

The best months for better weather near Lake Victoria are January, February, June, July, August and September. However, it is hot all year round, and temperatures are generally cool throughout the year with the rainiest months are April and May.

In conclusion, Lake Victoria is the largest tropical lake in the world and a natural habitat to various wildlife including birds, mammals and reptiles. Visit Uganda with Friendly Gorillas Safaris today.


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